Monday, November 2, 2015

Incidents in Albuquerque

Not sure where this is going to lead, but I have a feeling it's not going to end well.

There was a road rage incident a little while ago. A four year old girl was killed by a gun-wielding driver who believed he was disrespected by another driver on the interstate. They got into it, apparently, and the girl was shot. This incident made national news -- yet another example of the Wild-West, Albuquerque style.

 Not long afterwards, I think it was the next day, an APD officer who was engaged in a "routine traffic stop" was shot by the suspect and a week later he died of his wounds.

In both incidents suspects were quickly apprehended and now await trial for murder most foul.

Both the media and the police department have gone into full-meltdown mode over these incidents, the media practically demanding that "the gloves come off" and a return to the practices of the past be authorized. You know, shoot first and never face consequences. Those practices that got APD into a consent decree with the DoJ.

Shoot and shoot again and keep on shooting.

The local media has been in hysterics over the deaths of the little girl and the police officer. They've been whipping up hysteria among the public, too. It's shameful. Disgusting. And apparently out of control.

The police department and the police union, for the most part, has been relatively sane about it all -- at least compared to the media. And they seem to be doing their part to engage in public diplomacy. It's interesting to see the contrast. Yet the end point seems to be to get back to the way things used to be.

Kill, kill and kill some more.

The police department claims that violent crime in Albuquerque went up 14% in 2014, but whether it's true or not, who knows? Police have a tendency to lie in pursuit of their objectives, and statistics used by police are constantly being massaged to "prove" whatever police believe needs proving. The public has few resources with which to compare and contrast police perspectives on crime or anything else.

We have witnessed a steep decline in police killing of civilians in Albuquerque, a decline that really hasn't been highlighted by media or anyone else (partly because it is masked by killings by other law enforcement agencies) but I can easily imagine that it will be cited as a primary cause of the supposed increase in violent crime since (say) the consent decree was agreed to last fall.

There is some sign of a community peace movement, however, one that may be able to counter the violence by police and some members of the public.

I'm always an optimist, but sometimes I wonder if my optimism is really justified.


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